Category Archives: Revolution Sports

It’s Another Italian Job in the Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix

The pinnacle of the last day of Olympia, The Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix, was won by Alberto Zorzi, defending his 2017 title to become a back-to-back winner of the prestigious class. Earlier in the day the Show Jumping competition saw Irishman Shane Breen take the title in The Christmas Masters. The final show jumping class of the Show, The Mistletoe Mini Stakes, was won by the speedy duo of Connie Mensley and Madonna.

The afternoon performance of the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National was won by Lucy Aspell, followed by a win for Alice Crowley in the final race of the week. The Bob Champion Cancer Trust, the Official Charity of the Shetland Pony Grand National, was presented with a cheque of £45,059, the total amount raised for the beneficiary this year.

The Kennel Club Small Dog Agility Final was won by Dave Munnings and his cross-breed, Boost Bite.

Alberto Zorzi Defends His Title

Alberto Zorzi became the fifth rider in history to win The Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix back-to-back when he produced an incredible burst of speed to outdo his four rivals in the jump-off and bring a brilliant five days of jumping to an enthralling close.

Last year, Zorzi, a member of the Italian army, also won on a mare (Contanga); this time it was the black 10-year-old Ulane de Coquerie. “It’s unbelievable! I am so lucky,” said Zorzi. “I know my horse is very fast, so I trust her and go with her. She’s one of the best I have ridden. I love this Show!”

In completing the double, Zorzi joins an elite band of riders: David Broome (with Philco and Sportsman in 1977-78), Nick Skelton (St James, 1982-83), Malcolm Pyrah (Towerlands Anglezarke, 1985-86), Franke Sloothaak (Walzerkoenig, 1988-89), and Ben Maher (Tripple X and Diva ll, 2013-14).

Only four went through to the jump-off, and Portugal’s Rodrigo Giesteira Almeida riding GC Chopin’s Bushi made a feisty start with a clear in 28.69 seconds. However, he was overhauled by the stylish Dutchman Maikel van der Vleuten on Idi Utopia, who came home in 28.64.

Scott Brash was the sole British representative, riding a masterful clear round on the youngster Hello Jefferson, but a tight turn proved too ambitious for the nine-year-old and he refused.

Both Zorzi and van der Vleuten felt the Grand Prix track was harder than that for the previous day’s FEI World Cup™. “Alberto’s horse had a shorter stride than mine and could move up more quickly to the fences,” explained van der Vleuten, who ended up as Leading Rider of the Show. “But finishing second, and as Leading Rider of the show, is a great way for me to finish the year.”

Ireland’s Darragh Kenny and Olympia newcomer Doron Kuipers from the Netherlands were second and third in the final rider rankings with William Funnell best Briton in fourth.

Shane Breen Is the Master

Until this year, Shane Breen had never done a full week at Olympia. Now, he’s won his first rankings class and been crowned the victor in The Christmas Masters, a winner-takes-all knockout contest for the leading seven riders in the show.

The British trio of William Whitaker, John Whitaker, and William Funnell exited by the second round, as did Ireland’s Darragh Kenny. Then Dutchman Doron Kuipers, making his first visit to Olympia, hit a fence in the third and it was all down to Breen, riding Clyde VA, and Maikel van der Vleuten from the Netherlands, who took it to a jump-off against the clock in the fifth round for the jackpot of €9,500.

“I knew Maikel would be quicker [on Dana Blue], which is a more experienced horse than mine, so I had to hope he would have a fence down – and he obliged!”

Breen, a keen hunting man, said of his winning mount, Clyde VA: “I think a lot of this horse. He’s a little bit lazy to ride, but he’s going to be a good addition to Team Ireland.”

Earlier in the day, there was a timely birthday present for the popular Italian rider, Luca Maria Moneta, when a late dash on the 17-year-old Neptune Brecourt clinched the Turkish Airlines Speed Stakes from Robert Whitaker on Major Delacour.

Moneta, who is 51 and a strong advocate of working in partnership with the horse – many spectators will remember the way he fed his horse a carrot in the Puissance in 2013 (he still carries them in his pocket) – said: “Both my best horses are 17 years old and they spend a lot of time being horses rather than show jumpers – they go in the field every day at home.

“This horse enjoys competing so much that he would hate it if you left him behind – he finds it fun and easy. Sometimes when you get to the last fence in a speed class the horse will be hanging on the bit, but Neptune was very focussed today and our partnership work was rewarded.”

Goodbye Ursula

Scott Brash may be known by some as the cool ice man of Show Jumping, but it was an emotional evening at Olympia as he retired his brilliant mare Ursula Xll.

Ursula, owned by Lady Harris and Lady Kirkham, is 17 and has twice been the top ranked horse in FEI competition and a flagship for British breeding; she won the 2016 CP International at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’, Canada and was runner-up in the FEI Longines World Cup™ leg at Olympia in 2017.

“We have a great partnership,” said Brash. “She gives you some feeling in a big class and I know what she’s going to do. Eventually she wants to have a foal, but she’ll come home with me and I will keep riding for a bit because she’s very fit and needs to be worked.”

Brash’s career has already included an Olympic gold medal, being world number one and winning the million-dollar Rolex Grand Slam, but the 33-year-old Scot admits: “I live for those feelings. The Grand Slam was one of the best things in my life, as was winning an Olympic gold medal in my home country, but it only makes me hungrier. I will want to win the World Cup final and an individual gold medal – I’m very motivated.

“I’m my fiercest critic. I have been cross with myself when I’ve won, but I’ve also come out of the arena with two down and been quite happy with that. I’m most comfortable when I’m in the ring. It’s what I love doing.”

Return of the Natives

A striking Connemara stallion described “as an absolute treasure at home” was crowned Supreme Champion in the BSPS Ridden Mountain and Moorland Championship sponsored by LeMieux.

Sandra Burton and Joe Burke’s 10-year-old Banks Timber, third last year, was bred in Denmark by Peter Bank Mikkelson, bought as a yearling from sales in Galway, Ireland, by Mr Burke, who had flown over for the day at Olympia, and arrived as an unbroken six-year-old at Mrs Burton’s Connemara pony stud in Lancashire. Reserve Champion was Cadlanvalley Buzby, a Welsh Section B stallion by Russetwood Elation out of Stockham Domino, owned and bred by Hayley Grota and ridden by 13-year-old Liberty Grota in her first season with the pony.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

An Exell-ent Day for the FEI Driving World Cup

FEI Driving World Cup™ Presented by Dodson & Horrell was won by Australia’s Boyd Exell in a gripping two round competition.

The Martin Collins Enterprises Christmas Tree Stakes was won by Daniel Deusser (GER) riding Cornet.

The afternoon performance of the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National was won by Archie Gubb riding Gruntness Inogee and the evening performance by Poppy Dadson riding Merkisayre Sea Duble.

The Kennel Club Large Senior Dog Agility Finals was won by multiple Olympia champion Natasha Wise and Pebbles.

Exell Sets the Standard Again

The world’s most outstanding four-in-hand driver, Boyd Exell, crowned an exemplary week of Extreme and FEI World Cup™ driving competition with a win in the final round of the FEI Driving World Cup™ presented by Dodson & Horrell.

“I’m so pleased with my horses,” the Australian driver and trainer said. “Five years ago I had a superb team and I’ve spent the intervening years trying to replicate it. With the two new horses I’ve recently put in to the mix, I feel I’m really getting close. They just get faster and faster.”

Experienced Dutch driver Koos de Ronde, who has competed every year since driving became part of the Olympia programme, was Exell’s closest challenger after the first round, with Belgian Glenn Geerts in third place.

These three returned for a drive-off, which got off to a dramatic start when one of Geerts’ horses slipped turning to come off the bridge. Driving is a close-knit community and fellow competitors flew to help; happily, all four horses were up in moments and the Olympia crowd showed their appreciation by giving Geerts a standing ovation.

Quickly regaining his focus, de Ronde drove a proficient round, bettering his time but picking up a 4-second penalty. Exell again put his foot to the floor to drive his fourth clear round, knocking three seconds off his first-round time to take the victory and extend his lead in the rankings.

“Olympia was very brave to agree to stage this competition eight years ago, but it has been so well supported by Dodson & Horrell and Hugh and Karen Scott-Barrett. The drivers love it; it’s a highlight of the World Cup calendar and it’s an honour to be here.”

British competitor Daniel Naprous, whose stunt work can be seen in Wonder Woman, The Crown, and Peaky Blinders, has steadily improved his times during the week and finished fifth overall.

Cornet Hits a High Note

Germany’s Daniel Deusser, the world number seven, set a fast pace in the jump-off of The Martin Collins Enterprises Christmas Tree Stakes to take the class on the 14-year-old grey Cornet, by the leading jumping sire Cornet Obolensky.

This class bucked the trend, with only four through to the jump-off. First to go, Deusser, who rides for Stephex Stables in Belgium, set a fast pace with a clear in 31.25 seconds. Simon Delestre for France on Conbelleza also left all the fences up but was fractionally slower in 32.07 seconds.

Maikel van der Vleuten was third for the Netherlands on Idi Utopia and William Funnell, who has now moved up to second place behind Geir Gulliksen in the Leading Rider of the Show rankings, was fourth on Billy Diamo.

“I expected there to be more clear rounds, but the track had lots of bends off corners and that seemed to be causing trouble,” explained Deusser, who will ride Cornet d’Amour in the Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix. “Cornet is one of my top horses, but sometimes it’s nice to drop him into a smaller height competition so that it’s easy for him.”

The Voltaire Design Mince Pie Stakes

Earlier in the day, Shaunie Greig travelled all the way from Fife to add a win in The Voltaire Design Mince Pie Stakes to her list of prestigious 148cm victories. Riding Casino Royale VIII, she produced the sole double clear of the class.

Shaunie, 15, was the fifth of the six riders to go in the jump-off and, with no faultless performers before her, there was everything to play for.

“I was aiming for the win, so I needed to go clear, but not too crazy,” she said. “I had watched Purdi Digby [who was first to go] so I knew where to go on the course.”

Nicole Lockhead Anderson riding Gangnam Style ll finished second with a fence down.

Tribute to the Late Tim Stockdale

Saturday came to a moving close with the Whitaker family’s annual presentation of the Ryan’s Son Trophy for services to the sport. This year, with many of his colleagues looking on, it was presented posthumously to Tim Stockdale whose wife Laura and sons Joe and Mark were there to collect it.

Tickets can be purchased at www.olympiahorseshow.com or by telephone on 0844 995 0995.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

McCoy and His Boys Prove They’re the Real Deal

An eager crowd was treated to an action-packed fifth day at Olympia, The London International Horse Show. The first Show Jumping competition of the day saw 18-year-old Robert Murphy produce a sublime performance going double-clear and securing a memorable victory in The Voltaire Design Under 25 British Championship Final. A faultless Boyd Exell was once again on majestic form, finishing just under 30 seconds ahead of eventual second-placed Driver, Belgian Glenn Geerts. British riders dominated The Keith Prowse Father Christmas Stakes, with William Whitaker, William Funnell, Ben Maher, and Guy Williams taking the top four places, respectively.

In a first for Olympia Horse Show, a team of five top-class female jockeys took on their male counterparts in the Markel Champions Challenge in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund – a fast and furious Show Jumping team relay competition. The Boys’ Team – with stand-out rides from Richard “Dickie” Johnson and Jim Crowley – did just enough to beat the Girls’ Team by a combined time of little under eight seconds, while Girls’ Team captain Bridget Andrews earned a consolation winning the prize for the quickest round.

The evening drew to a close with The Longines Christmas Cracker. Out of a field of 28 competitors, 13 jumped a clear first round and progressed to the jump-off, which then saw a further six pairs jump double clear. While Holly Smith (Claddagh Iroko) and Laura Kraut (Confu) put themselves firmly in contention, it was Robert Whitaker and his nine-year-old bay mare El Wee Widge who rose to the occasion, crossing the finish line in an unbeatable time of 34.51 seconds.

Jenny Kimber and Rogue took the honours in The Kennel Club Large Novice Dog Agility Finals on the third evening of canine competition at Olympia. After a fantastic qualifying round win, Naarah Cuddy and Lemon were last to run in the Final. The pressure was on for the pair to beat a fast and accurate round set by Jenny Kimber and Rogue, but an unfortunate early fault dashed their title hopes. The afternoon performance of the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National was won by Zak Kent and Briar Smokey Joe, while the evening performance was won by Lucy Aspell and Magheradartin Beeswax.

Jockeys Go Flat Out for Charity

The Markel Champions Challenge in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund (IJF) proved a huge crowd pleaser when, for the first time, five female jockeys, including recent big-race winner Bryony Frost, took on their male counterparts against the clock over the coloured poles in the unfamiliar environment of a densely packed indoor arena.

The fiercely competitive Boys’ Team, trained by Olympic gold medallist Nick Skelton and captained by 20-time champion Sir “AP” McCoy with champion jockeys Richard Johnston and Ryan Moore, were victorious with a collective time of 151.16 seconds against the girls’ 159.11, but it was Bridget Andrews who was fastest of all, upholding female honour with the prize for the quickest round, in 33.88 seconds.

Her fiancé, Harry Skelton, caused great hilarity when, last to go for the Boys’ Team and riding one of Laura Kraut’s jumpers, he suffered tack malfunction when the hackamore bridle ended up around the horse’s ears. Not to be defeated, he set off again, after some hasty repairs with a cable tie, but the same thing happened so he borrowed a teammate’s horse.

However, Harry had to settle for the third fastest time of 35.85 seconds behind flat jockey Jim Crowley. “The wedding’s still on,” announced commentator Clare Balding. Harry promised: “We’ll be back next year – with better tack.”

The jockeys were clearly thoroughly enjoying their Christmas party, but IJF president AP was quick to thank Olympia for giving the charity this great fund-raising platform. Next year, a third rehabilitation centre, named after the late commentator Sir Peter O’ Sullevan, will open in Newmarket.

Exell Is in the Driving Seat

Boyd Exell, the reigning world champion in Carriage Driving, laid down the strongest possible marker for the final of the FEI Driving World Cup™ leg, presented by Dodson & Horrell, at Olympia, The London International Horse Show.

In a display that left spectators breathless, the defending champion, who is competing here on a wild card, was second into the arena behind British hopeful Dan Naprous, who had driven a well-controlled clear round.

Exell, too, went clear but knocked 15 seconds off Naprous’s time and no one thereafter could come close; American driver Chester Weber suffered the disappointment of being eliminated for missing the first obstacle. Belgium’s Glenn Geerts claimed second place and the vastly experienced Koos de Ronde from the Netherlands was third.

In the drive-off between the first three, de Ronde bettered his first-round time but collected 12 seconds in penalties. Geerts also bettered his time, but his additional eight-second penalties gave the Australian maestro breathing space.

However, he had no need of it. In an electrifying drive, he knocked eight seconds off his first round time to romp into first place, 30 seconds ahead of Geerts and de Ronde.

“I’ve put two new horses into my team – one in the lead and one in the wheel – and they’ve moved the speed up like you cannot believe,” Exell explained. “They were machines today – I could not be more pleased with them, although, of course, tomorrow is the all-important competition.”

There was a great boost for British driving when Naprous, who was also previously performing at Olympia as leader of the Devil’s Horsemen Stunt Display Team, was the only other driver to go clear – he only missed the drive-off by two seconds.

Robert Whitaker Produces a Christmas Cracker

An Olympia victory was just what the doctor ordered when, two weeks after having his appendix removed, Robert Whitaker produced a masterful performance in a 13-horse jump-off for Friday’s main class, The Longines Christmas Cracker.

His winning mount was the relatively inexperienced nine-year-old El Wee Widge, owned by his uncle, Michael Whitaker.

“I just said to Michael: ‘I’m going to have a bit of a go’ as the horse likes to go forward,” said Robert, who took over the ride when his uncle was injured, finishing second in a major class at Oslo Show. “I went to Michael and said that I was really short of horses and he kindly let me have El Wee Widge.”

Laura Kraut, a world team gold medallist this year, came closest to catching Robert – she was just 0.4 seconds slower on the grey Confu, beating young British rider Holly Smith on Claddagh Iroko by a mere 10th of a second.

Keeping it in the family, Robert’s father John had the crowd roaring in excitement, but he lost time trying to keep the mare Leen O.L. on her line and had to settle for fourth place.

Earlier, to the delight of the packed home crowd, Robert’s cousin, William Whitaker, riding Lammy Beach, topped a British one-two-three-four in the Keith Prowse Father Christmas Stakes, an accumulator class against the clock. A final tricky joker fence gives double points if jumped cleanly, but is double the penalty if knocked down.

“It’s like you’re riding in a speed class, but then have that big last fence to think about,” explained William, who represented Britain at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ this year. “I had a lot of quick ones to come after me so I had to take a few risks and got away with it. I wanted one stride less to one fence, and I didn’t get it, so I knew I had left some room for others to catch me.”

The buzzing atmosphere suited the 10-year-old Irish-bred gelding. “The closeness of the crowd doesn’t suit some horses, but it really makes him light up,” said William. “I am really happy with this horse and it is a real privilege to ride here.”

With two more days to go, Norway’s Geir Gulliksen is currently Leading Rider of the Show with five placings, pushing Darragh Kenny from Ireland into second. William Funnell, who has been runner-up three times, is third.

Robert Murphy and Chablis Are the Toast

The Voltaire Design Under 25 British Championship Final ended on a thrilling high note when, last to go in an eight-horse jump-off, 18-year-old Robert Murphy rode an audacious round on Newbridges Chablis to overhaul the brilliant early target set by Harry Charles, 21, on Vivaldi du Dom.

This prestigious class, which has been won by the likes of Scott Brash and Jessica Mendoza, gets stronger every year, the bulk of the field being represented by the talented sons and daughters of such well-known horsemen such as Michael Whitaker, Graham Fletcher, Mike Saywell, Duncan Inglis, Peter Charles, the late Tim Stockdale, and Badminton Horse Trials course-designer Eric Winter.

Robert, the son of former leading jumper Peter Murphy, set a scorching pace, confidently taking out strides and turning on a sixpence, to snatch the win from Harry by 0.5 seconds.

“There were a few options, but you had to take risks – I tried to mimic Harry’s round,” explained Robert, who was presented with the Tim Stockdale Trophy in memory of the much-loved rider who died last month.

Last year, Newbridges Chablis hit three fences, but Robert, whose aim for 2019 is to get into the Young Rider team, explained: “He’s quite a sensitive horse and he didn’t settle well in the stable, but he’s had some more mileage since then and things were quite different this time.”

Eight riders went through to the jump-off. Jodie Hall McAteer’s spirited challenge on Fantom, clear in 31.1 seconds, was good enough for third place behind Charles, whose brilliant year continues.

Tickets can be purchased at www.olympiahorseshow.com or by telephone on 0844 995 0995.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

Breen Swoops to Claim the Ivy Stakes

The crowds on day four of Olympia, The London International Horse Show were treated to some exhilarating Driving and Show Jumping performances, breathtaking displays from Santi Serra, La Garde Républicaine, The Kennel Club Dog Agility, and the Shetland Ponies, while more than 40 junior and senior medallists from Equestrian Team GBR took part in a very special parade in the Grand Hall.

Australian Boyd Exell demonstrated to Olympia’s admiring crowd precisely why he is the current and five-time world champion for four-in-hand Driving, putting on a masterful display in the Dodson & Horrell Extreme Driving – Top Score. Exell navigated the Johan Jacob-designed course with aplomb, completing the first round fault-free and more than 13 seconds ahead of his closest challengers, Dutchman Koos de Ronde and Belgian Edouard Simonet. With Simonet and de Ronde accruing four and eight-second penalties respectively in the drive-off, Exell showed his class, cruising over the finish line 10 seconds ahead of eventual second-placed driver Simonet.

The final event of the evening, The Ivy Stakes sponsored by Champagne Taittinger, proved to be a star-studded event, with six of the world’s top-10 ranked Show Jumpers vying for victory. But it was Irishman Shane Breen – currently 55th in the world rankings – who took the spoils. With 15 horse and rider combinations successfully navigating the Bernardo Costa Cabral-designed course and progressing to the jump-off, it was Breen who ultimately excelled, effortlessly steering his 13-year-old chestnut stallion fault-free around the demanding jump-off course in an unbeatable time of 33.41 seconds. Hot on Breen’s heels was Swiss maestro Steve Guerdat (Corbinian), who slotted into second spot just half a second off the pace, while third placed Norwegian Geir Gulliksen (Gin Chin van het Lindenhof) was a further second back.

This Kennel Club Medium Dog Agility Finals was won by Dawn Weaver from Dorset and her dog, Vegas, with the pair putting in the fastest clear round of the evening. Judge Martin Cavill put handlers through their paces resulting in only two dogs making it around the course without faults.

The afternoon performance of the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National was won by Lucas Murphy and Shelcroft Buttercup, while the evening performance was won by Daisy Harrop and Cranford Fantastic.

The Olympia Senior Showing Series Championships sponsored by Anthony D Evans Insurance Brokers saw Alice Stratton and the 17-year-old Welsh Section B Laithehill Pasha – last year’s in-hand winners in the Senior Showing and Dressage Ltd Grand Final sponsored by Anthony D Evans Insurance Brokers – take the title in the under saddle final. Claire Langman’s ex-racehorse, New Team, won the in-hand class.

Boyd Exell Puts On a Show

The crowd was treated to a spectacular start to the afternoon performance when Boyd Exell from Australia put on a masterclass in four-in-hand skills in the Dodson & Horrell Extreme Driving – Top Score, which determines the order of go in the World Cup competition. Exell, the reigning World Cup champion, was last to go of the seven contestants from six nations and finished the first round with 13 seconds in hand.

Second at this stage was the experienced Dutch competitor, Koos de Ronde, but his outstandingly fast round unfortunately included four knockdowns to add 16 seconds to his time. In third was young Belgian driver Edouard Simonet, a team and individual bronze medallist at the FEI World Equestrian Games™, who also went clear.

In the drive-off, Simonet and de Ronde both picked up penalties to reverse their positions. Exell again drove surely and cleanly until the very end where he picked up a four-second penalty, but he still cruised home 10 seconds ahead of Simonet.

The fast course set by Dutch designer Johan Jacob featured a new four-way crossing on the bridge with the start and finish occurring here. Newly designed elements in the obstacles gave a lighter appearance to the course and made for good viewing.

Britain’s Dan Naprous, who heads up the Devil’s Horsemen Stunt Team, experienced early difficulties, as did the USA’s Chester Weber, the world silver medallist.

Hawk Swoops to Conquer

Shane Breen gave a masterclass in cool-headed speed jumping to win Thursday’s main class, The Ivy Stakes sponsored by Champagne Taittinger, at Olympia, The London International Horse Show.

Breen, riding the 13-year-old Golden Hawk, was first to go in a marathon 15-horse jump-off, but no one could match his clear in 33.41 seconds, and the run of Irish luck continued after compatriot Darragh Kenny’s double.

In an international line-up, the 2012 Olympic champion Steve Guerdat finished second for Switzerland, 0.5 seconds in arrears on Corbinian. Geir Gulliksen was third for Norway on Gin Chin van het Lindenhof, formerly the ride of Ireland’s Bertram Allen, and riders from Portugal, France, and the Netherlands filled the next four places with Ben Maher the best Brit in eighth place.

Amazingly, this is Breen’s first full week at Olympia (he has competed in the Puissance before) and he revealed that the victory had cost him four watches – thinking it unlikely, he promised four children that he would buy them one each if he was successful.

“It looked a tricky enough jump-off course, but the horse got in a nice rhythm and it came my way,” said Breen.

The Gulliksen family have been long supporters of Olympia, so a first win for 22-year-old Johann-Sebastien Gulliksen in the Christmas Stocking Six Bar proved popular.

Four riders made it through to the fourth round, at 1.90m, but Gulliksen, riding the 13-year-old Arakorn, was the only one to go clear, as Belgium’s Olivier Philippaerts (H & M Extra) withdrew, Britain’s William Whitaker (Fandango) hit a fence, and Italy’s Luca Maria Moneta on a spooky Centimo retired after a refusal.

Gulliksen, who has been accompanying his father, Geir, to Olympia since a small child, said his horse had jumped 1.95m in Madrid a few weeks ago. “He really tries his best. It’s unbelievable to win here at Olympia. The crowd really gives you an emotional feeling.”

German Olympic rider Christian Ahlmann had a pleasant surprise in The Shelley Ashman International Shipping Ltd, E M Rogers (Transport) Ltd Snowflake Stakes when a horse that has only been jumping for a year carried him to victory in this speed class.

Atomic Z, a breeding stallion until last year, lacks the ring experience of other horses, but showed just how quick a learner he is when his round was fast enough to beat Britain’s William Funnell (Billy Angelo) by two seconds.

“It wasn’t planned at all,” said Ahlmann, “but when I went in, he felt so good that I went a bit quicker, and then a bit quicker still, because he is very flexible.”

Darragh Kenny is currently Leading Rider of the Show, with Geir Gulliksen second, Dutchman Doron Kuipers third, and William Funnell fourth.

A major highlight of the evening was the parade of British team medallists – British teams combined to bring back 24 championship medals this summer – headed by the gold medal eventing team. Individual world champion Ros Canter was presented with the BEF Medal of Honour, along with carriage driver Jill Holah and Para-Dressage selector Waveney Luke.

Tickets can be purchased at www.olympiahorseshow.com or by telephone on 0844 995 0995.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

The Animals Arrive Two-by-Two for Olympia

Olympia, The London International Horse Show, taking place from 17-23 December 2018, brings almost 400 horses to central London for elite international competitions, equestrian displays, and performances. As the UK’s largest indoor Show, and the only Show to host all three FEI World Cup™ Qualifiers in Dressage, Show Jumping, and Driving, over 90,000 spectators are due to attend the annual event, in addition to the world’s best riders.

Having travelled to the capital city from as far as France, an array of equine and canine animals (listed below) arrived in ‘two-by-two’ formation to the Olympia London venue, early Sunday morning, entering through the Grand Hall entrance.

WHO

Two animals from each of the following displays took part:

• Teddy the Miniature Shetland: Instagram sensation Teddy has over 100,000 followers was  joined by Olympia’s mascot, a miniature Shetland foal named Bonnie
• La Garde Républicaine: The world-famous French cavalry regiment, one of the most talked about branches of the French Gendarmerie, bringing their spectacular ensemble of twelve horses to music.
• The Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National jockeys and ponies: The best upcoming jockeys and their ponies, including Lucas Murphy, son of National Hunt jockey, Timmy Murphy, and Daisy Harrap.
• Festive donkeys – Dora and Nora: Representing the Official Charity of Olympia 2018, The Brooke Action for Working Horses and Donkeys.
• Kennel Club Dog Agility dogs: The UK’s most talented dogs attend the Show to compete in The Kennel Club Dog Agility, the pinnacle of the Dog Agility calendar.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

Scott Brash to Retire Once-in-a-Lifetime Mare, Ursula XII, at Olympia

Olympia, The London International Horse Show is honoured to announce that one of Great Britain’s most successful ever Show Jumpers, Scott Brash MBE, has decided to officially retire his leading mare Ursula XII at the annual equestrian event, which is taking place from 17-23 December 2018.

Since forming their partnership in 2012, Brash and Ursula XII have become one of Show Jumping’s most iconic pairings, having had their fair share of prime podium positions throughout their journey together. The 17-year-old Scottish Sport Horse, owned by Lady Harris and Lady Kirkham, has delivered strong performances throughout the entirety of her career. In 2016, Ursula secured an historic win for Brash in the CP International at the CSIO Spruce Meadows Masters, not only making her the highest earning horse that year, but also the world’s best. The pair has gone from strength to strength, taking the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Mexico title this year.

The partnership has regularly competed at Olympia, very narrowly missing out on winning The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ at the Show in 2017, after Julien Epaillard’s jump-off denied them first place. A special retirement ceremony will take place on Sunday 23 December, after the Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix, commending this special horse before she enjoys a happy retirement.

Scott Brash MBE said: “Ursula is once-in-a-lifetime horse who has given me moments in my career that I will never be able to top. I don’t think I will ever ride a horse like her again; she’s one of the smallest horses in the stables but jumps round such big courses more easily than any horse I’ve ridden. It is an honour to be giving her the retirement ceremony she deserves and celebrating her incredible career. We’re thrilled to be paying tribute to her at Olympia; the atmosphere is like no other and the Show is on home-turf, making it even more special.”

Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward, said: “We’re delighted to be holding the official retirement for Ursula. She’s an incredible horse and it is a privilege to be paying respects to her career, in addition to giving ticket holders the opportunity to witness this special occasion.”

Tickets can be purchased at www.olympiahorseshow.com or by telephone on 0844 995 0995.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

Highlights News Film from Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final and Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva

10 December 2018, Geneva, Switzerland – The Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva is one of the four equestrian Majors that form the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, and is one of the most prestigious Grand Prix on the international circuit. The Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final, also hosted at the CHI Geneva, is an elite competition which invites the top 10 riders to compete to be named the best among them.

Re-live the excitement from the four-day competition at one of the world’s leading venues, as the finest riders compete for the prestigious titles. Discover more on http://on.rolex.com/29ZQji4.

YouTube link

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Virginie Chevailler
Rolex SA
virginie.chevailler@rolex.com
+41 (0)22 302 2619

Merrick Haydon
rEvolution
mhaydon@revolutionworld.com
+44 (0)7748 186 833

Marcus Ehning Wins Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva, the Final Major of the Year

09 December 2018, Geneva, Switzerland – CHI Geneva welcomed 40 of the best riders in the world to compete in the most esteemed class of the show, the Rolex Grand Prix, the final Major of the year in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

A spectacular competition saw Germany’s Marcus Ehning riding Pret A Tout victorious, repeating his success from CHIO Aachen where he won the Rolex Grand Prix in July earlier this year. Second place went to Rolex Testimonee Steve Guerdat (SUI) riding Albfüehren’s Bianca and third place went to Darragh Kenny (IRE) riding Balou du Reventon.

Over 42,500 fans gathered over the four days for the 2018 edition of the CHI Geneva with a packed arena witnessing a thrilling two-stage Rolex Grand Prix competition between the global elite. Rolex Testimonee Scott Brash (GBR) was the first rider to go clear, later joined by his fellow equestrian Testimonees Steve Guerdat and USA’s Kent Farrington in the line-up of riders going through to the jump-off. The Swiss crowd erupted into applause as one of their home favourites, Guerdat, went clear, sailing around the challenging course.

With 11 clears in the first round, the equestrian fans were enraptured as they waited for what promised to be a breath-taking jump-off, with three Rolex Testimonees, the world number one and a previous Major winner included in the line-up. Whilst all riders gave everything, it was Marcus Ehning who prevailed with a precision performance demonstrating his exquisite horsemanship and sporting skills.

The world’s equestrian elite will now look to The Dutch Masters, the first Major of 2019, where Ehning will be travelling as the new Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping live contender.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Virginie Chevailler
Rolex SA
virginie.chevailler@rolex.com
+41 (0)22 302 2619

Merrick Haydon
rEvolution
mhaydon@revolutionworld.com
+44 (0)7748 186 833

Steve Guerdat Riding Alamo Wins Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final at CHI Geneva

07 December 2018, Geneva, Switzerland – The top 10 riders from around the globe competed in one of the most exciting classes of the year, the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final, at the iconic CHI Geneva. A class where only the world’s top 10 ranked riders are invited to compete to be named the best among them. The elite roster of riders that gathered to take on this imposing course included Rolex’s equestrian Testimonees, Steve Guerdat and Martin Fuchs.

World-renowned course designer, Gérard Lachat, formulated an imposing and technically challenging course staged over two rounds, ensuring a thrilling competition for the enthralled crowd. First to enter the infamous Palexpo arena was Great Britain’s Ben Maher riding Explosion W, leaving the equestrian fans gasping as he hit the first fence in the Rolex combination and left the arena on 19 faults.

The first clear of the night came from Niels Bruynseels riding Gancia de Muze, exhibiting precision and determination as he glided around the course, finishing in 63.03 seconds, therefore setting the bar high for the forthcoming riders.

As the curtains to the arena entrance opened to unveil one of the home favourites and Rolex’s newest Testimonee Martin Fuchs, the crowd rose to their feet to witness his immaculate clear round riding in his first Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final. World no.1, Harrie Smolders, came next, producing an effortless round and going clear in the second quickest time, finishing just behind Bruynseels on the leaderboard. The arena was then treated to a second Swiss rider, as Rolex Testimonee and 2010 winner Steve Guerdat contended. Guerdat has been on top form this year and the mesmerized crowd produced a deafening applause as he cleared this demanding course in a time of 63.78 seconds.

Daniel Deusser, McLain Ward, and Henrik von Eckermann also went clear, ending the first round in the competition with a total of seven clears and ensuring an exciting climax in the second round of the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final.

The second round welcomed the first four riders, Peder Fredricson, Marcus Ehning, Daniel Deusser, and Steve Guerdat. Deusser put pressure on his competitors by producing a fast-paced faultless round in a time of 41.53 seconds, moving him to the top of the leaderboard. However, next to come was Steve Guerdat, electrifying the arena with his bold and precision riding, executing a perfect clear round and beating Deusser’s time by 1.78 seconds.

Fellow Swiss rider and Rolex Testimonee, Martin Fuchs, produced a beautiful clear but despite his best efforts was unable to beat Guerdat’s time. Clear rounds were also executed by Henrik von Eckermann and McLain, but neither rider could top the leaderboard. Hoping to emulate his earlier round, Harrie Smolders made a valiant attempt, but it was not to be as he exited the arena on four faults. Winner of The Dutch Masters in March this year, and last to go, was Niels Bruynseels; known as one of the fastest riders on the circuit, Bruynseels attempted to out-pace Guerdat but paid the price by bringing a fence down.

The patriotic crowd was enraptured as Guerdat riding his brilliant gelding Alamo remained unbeaten and was crowned victor of the 2018 Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final. Henrik von Eckermann and McLain Ward secured second and third place.

A thrilled Guerdat commented on his victory. “I planned Alamo for the Final; he’s a nervous horse but I had a good feeling on him in the warm-up and in the first round, so I decided to go for it in the jump-off. Alamo responded beautifully to what I was asking him to do. I am very proud of him.”

Guerdat continues the successes of fellow Rolex Testimonees, Scott Brash, Kent Farrington, Eric Lamaze, and Kevin Staut, with Testimonees securing the title for five consecutive years.

The passionate fans of the equestrian world will now be eagerly awaiting the Rolex Grand Prix, taking place on Sunday. This is the last Major in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, and one of the most anticipated classes of the year.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Virginie Chevailler
Rolex SA
virginie.chevailler@rolex.com
+41 (0)22 302 2619

Merrick Haydon
rEvolution
mhaydon@revolutionworld.com
+44 (0)7748 186 833

CHI Geneva Welcomes Leading Riders to Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final and Rolex Grand Prix

03 December 2018, Geneva, Switzerland – Held from 6-9 December, the 2018 edition of the CHI Geneva will include two of the pre-eminent equestrian competitions, namely the Rolex International Jumping Riders Club (IJRC) Top 10 Final and the Rolex Grand Prix, the fourth and final Major of the year in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. The highest-ranking international riders will compete at the famous Palexpo venue, the largest indoor show jumping arena in the world.

This year’s show also features the Youth Challenge, an innovative contest introduced in 2017, giving four juniors and four young equestrians, riding four young Swiss-bred horses, the chance to compete against four of the world’s top riders, including Rolex Testimonee Jeroen Dubbeldam. In last year’s competition, the established champions had to work hard to outperform the Under-21s to win the jump-off.

ROLEX GRAND PRIX

Geneva, a city with a strong equestrian heritage and home to Swiss watchmaker Rolex, is the ideal setting for the final Major of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, the CHI Geneva Rolex Grand Prix. World-renowned course designers Gérard Lachat (SUI) and Louis Konickx (NED) have ensured a challenging circuit for the top horse and rider combinations.

Each of the Majors has a long tradition of sporting excellence. As a long-term partner to all four – The Dutch Masters, CHIO Aachen, the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters,’ and the CHI Geneva – Rolex appreciates the significance of the Grand Slam and has been honoured to be its exclusive partner since 2013.

In contention for the Grand Slam title is Egypt’s Sameh El Dahan, who took top honours at Spruce Meadows in September. Exultant after winning the event’s CP ‘International,’ presented by Rolex, the third Major of the year, El Dahan will attempt to finish his equestrian year on a high by winning a second consecutive Major at the CHI Geneva. “I’m thrilled to have won a Major in the Grand Slam and I will now be concentrating all my efforts on the CHI Geneva,” El Dahan said.

CONTENDING ROLEX TESTIMONEES

With many Rolex Testimonees participating in the Rolex Grand Prix, El Dahan will face challenging opposition.

Steve Guerdat will try for his fourth title, following wins in 2006, 2013 and 2015. The Swiss rider has been in top form this year, claiming individual bronze at the World Equestrian Games in North Carolina in September and winning the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show in May. “Competing in my home country is fantastic, and as part of the Rolex Grand Slam, the Rolex Grand Prix at the CHI Geneva is particularly significant – I will be giving it my all,” Guerdat says. Also contending will be fellow countryman Martin Fuchs, who joined the Rolex family this year and most recently earned individual silver at the World Equestrian Games.

Vying for the title will also be the defending champion Kent Farrington (USA) aiming to emulate his spectacular 2017 win at the Geneva event.

Hoping to compete in the Grand Prix will be Frenchman Kevin Staut and Scotsman Scott Brash, both of whom have claimed victory at Geneva in previous years. Looking to join the line-up will also include Rolex’s youngest Testimonee Bertram Allen (IRE), as well as fellow Testimonees Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER) and Jeroen Dubbeldam (NED).

ROLEX IJRC TOP 10 FINAL

Only the top 10 riders are invited to compete in the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final, which will be held on Friday 7 December. A concept similar to the ATP World Finals in tennis, also supported by Rolex, the Top 10 Final is the only contest run by the competitors, through the IJRC. Rolex has been Title Sponsor of the event since its inception in 2001. This year will be the 18th edition, with CHI Geneva hosting for the 14th time.

Rolex Testimonee and 2010 champion Steve Guerdat will be looking to regain his title in 2018. Whilst Rolex’s newest Testimonee Martin Fuchs will be contending for the very first time, endeavouring to finish his magnificent year on a high by achieving victory.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Virginie Chevailler
Rolex SA
virginie.chevailler@rolex.com
+41 (0)22 302 2619

Merrick Haydon
rEvolution
mhaydon@revolutionworld.com
+44 (0)7748 186 833